We asked Rene Grassau, a volunteer member of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) in the Hamburg-Mitte chapter, to answer seven important questions about the reception of refugees from Ukraine.
1. Where can i register if i want to take in refugees at my home in hamburg?
At https://wohnung.hilfe-ukraine.com/ you can find a form where you can enter exactly when and for how long you can host how many people. And whether you are also willing to possibly accommodate their pets.
2. What is the next step?
In a video conference, the ASB clarifies all important questions with the potential hosts in advance. We’re all about getting to know people as well as we can, because our number one priority is to find safe places for displaced people to stay. This also includes that the hosts have to show us their ID cards. Of course, we also drive the refugees to their new accommodations. If we notice on site that it’s not a good fit, we refer them on. Then, if necessary, they sleep one night in a church and we find a new place to stay the next day. So far, only wonderful people have contacted us. 600 in the first week and a half alone! We were really overwhelmed by the helpfulness of the people of Hamburg.
So far, only wonderful people have contacted us. 600 in the first week and a half alone! We were really overwhelmed by the helpfulness of the people of Hamburg.”Rene Grassau, volunteer member of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB)
3. How big should the room be that I provide?
It doesn’t really matter. It is much more important that the refugees are allowed to use the rest of the apartment in addition to the guest room. Then it does not matter if the bedroom is small. I think there are many advantages when refugees are hosted by a family. Thus, they are automatically integrated and experience support. In Hamburg, for example, there are many single elderly people in large houses who are lonely and are happy when a mother and her children move in with them. This way you can take care of each other. Of course, we are not interested in providing cheap labor, but we assume that when cooking is done in the families, it will be done for the guests. The generation that is lonely now has often experienced displacement itself.
4. Is there a minimum duration for the admission, or does it already help if i only offer a place to sleep for a short time?
As a general rule, you are allowed to host guests in a rented apartment for six weeks. After that, you need to ask the landlord for permission. But I don’t think tenants in the current situation need to fear eviction lawsuits if refugees stay longer. That would be absolutely morally reprehensible on the part of the landlords.
At the present moment, it would be desirable to be ready to receive refugees for at least six weeks. But if the situation gets worse and even more people have to flee Ukraine, then we are also happy if someone hosts people for only two weeks.
5. What administrative tasks do hosts have to perform?
None. ASB assists with the registration of refugees at the Central Initial Reception Center on Bargkoppelweg and at the Central Foreigners Authority on Hammer Straße. This is important so that displaced persons can apply for social assistance. We are always there for the hosts and their guests with any questions, to support them in the best possible way.
ASB assists in the registration of refugees … This is important so that displaced persons can apply for social assistance. We’re always there for the hosts and their guests with any questions they may have, to provide them with the best possible support.”Rene Grassau, volunteer member of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB)
6. Is there any financial help from the government if i want to host someone?
No, but all refugees have a right to work or social assistance. From experience, I can say that as soon as people from Ukraine have recovered from the horrors of their flight, they want to work, as we learned from our conversations.
7. What happens when problems arise between hosts and refugees? Or it doesn’t work out with living together after all?
No matter who you live with, a crisis can happen. In such moments, you can always turn to the ASB. For example, we can connect an interpreter via video conference who speaks Russian and Ukrainian. If it doesn’t work out at all with living together, we naturally place the refugees with others.